PD: Animal Abuse Charges Tossed For Man In Cat Mutilation Case

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MESA, AZ (CBS5) -Mesa police said Monday they’ve tossed animal cruelty charges against a man accused of stealing and mutilating dozens of cats in Mesa, sparking outrage from a group of citizens.

The group, comprising residents and owners of the mutilated cats, has scheduled two protests against Scott Andrew Graham, 39, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Saturday at Alma School Road and Pecos Avenue, the entrance to Marlboro Mesa neighborhood in Mesa.

“Anyone that’s going to abduct 30 to 40 cats isn’t doing it just to play with them and let them go,” said protestor Lenetta Leger.

Scott Andrew Graham

“I mean, I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist or a psychologist to see there’s obviously something wrong with this man,” she continued during Tuesday’s protest.

The Maricopa County attorney’s office had referred the case back to police on Sept. 6 to gather more evidence.

“Investigative efforts have been exhausted,” Mesa police spokesman Sgt. Tony Landato said in a news release. “The decision was made to continue with only the theft charge.

Landato cited an investigation by detectives that called into question some initial facts of the case.

“Any additional or future charges are unlikely until additional evidence is developed or received that would allow the investigation to continue,” Landato said.

Tuesday, CBS 5 asked Landato for more information as to why the animal abuse charges were dropped.

“As it turns out, when we sat down with the photos of the mutilated cats and the (owners) and the photos they had, everyone was in agreement that although similar, this is not the victim’s cat,” explained Landato.

“So that’s a critical piece of evidence that now we’ve lost,” he continued.

Mesa police said Aug. 8 home surveillance video caught Graham  taking a cat from the top of a person’s vehicle in the 900 block of West Natal.

Several days later, the cat was found dead and mutilated behind a nearby strip mall where another mutilated cat was found.

On Aug. 23, police said a member of the neighbourhood watch, Ben Smith, said he saw the vehicle again and tried to catch him on his bike. The suspect allegedly threw the cat out the window and fled.

On Sept. 3, the same neighbour spotted the vehicle again, took photos and got his license plate number.

Graham was arrested on South Spruce in Mesa where he was staying with relatives.

Friday, CBS 5 News confirmed Graham was not in jail and tried to contact him at the home in Mesa. A relative answered the door and said, “No comment.”

Police said without the neighbour’s help, the arrest might not have ever happened.

“There would not have been an arrest and possibly never resulting in this case had he not had that… not just the one time but both times,” Landato said.

I was dead set on not losing this guy and getting as much photographic evidence as possible,” Smith said.

Police said Graham admitted to the theft charge and taking between 30 and 40 cats from the area. He denied harming the cats, stating he just played with them and then dropped them off at a different location.

Friday, a neighbour said she found another dead cat on Thursday.

“The neighbours think that maybe some antifreeze or something was given to the cats, so I don’t know. It was dead,” said Yolanda Fletcher.

Smith said Friday, “As soon as we found out in the neighbourhood that the charges were getting dropped, we went right back up to boosting patrols and adding surveillance cameras throughout the neighborhood.”

The suspect and his family told police he is deathly allergic to cats.

Graham was initially charged with one count of mistreatment to animals and two counts of cruelty to animals, along with one theft charge.

Video & News Link:-http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/19423081/7500-reward-for-information-about-mesa-cat-mutilations


Man stealing, mutilating cats caught

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MESA, Ariz. – A man who allegedly terrorized a Mesa neighborhood for weeks by abducting and killing their cats is finally in police custody.

The suspect, 39-year-old Scott Andrew Graham, is accused of stealing and mutilating cats in a Mesa neighborhood. 

Graham is charged with theft, mistreatment of animals and two counts of cruelty to animals.

Neighbour Ben Smith spotted a suspicious vehicle Monday night that he had seen in the neighborhood before, and decided to follow it and get its license plate number, police said.

A patrol officer found the home that the car was registered to and found out the suspect lives in the home with relatives, but he was not there at the time. When Graham returned home, he admitted to officers that he had taken 30 to 40 cats from the area. He denied harming the cats, he told police he only played with them and released them somewhere else.

Based on evidence at the home and in Graham’s vehicle, and surveillance video from the neighborhood, police found probable cause to arrest him.

Back on August 8, surveillance video showed a figure snatching a cat perched on his owner’s SUV. The cat was found killed days later. More and more cats continued to disappear in the neighborhood.

Trish Ferguson’s cat Lil Bit went missing in April.

“That is unbelievable, and just knowing he probably tortured her. It’s not fair it’s not right… it’s been very difficult, she was our baby she was part of the family.

As more and more cats went missing and neighbors had suspicions there was foul play, neighbourhood block watch captain Ben Smith knew something had to be done.

The past three weeks me and a couple of neighbors have been patrolling all hours of the night,” says Smith. Monday night, the patrols paid off.

Turns out that Smith saw the suspect and his vehicle in the neighborhood while on his bicycle once before, but the suspect threw a cat out the window and got away.

According to court paperwork, the evidence that police found in Graham’s vehicle was cat hair, blood, and the trunk smelled of “dead animal.”

Follow this story: Reward grows in cat mutilation case

News Link:-http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/story/19449740/man-stealing-mutilating-cats-caught

Man charged in puppy’s death, woman’s assault

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NEW CASTLE — A Halco Drive man is facing charges for allegedly choking a woman and killing her puppy.

New Castle police and the Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office investigated the case jointly and reported that Leroy Graham, 54, who lives in the Grant Street projects, was baby-sitting a 2-month-old puppy for a Pulaski woman who had taken someone shopping.

The woman told police it had taken her longer than expected to return and Graham was angry.

She said that when she arrived, he reached into her car and choked her, then went inside his apartment at 351 Halco Drive, got the puppy and slammed it against her car, causing severe injuries.

The puppy died the next morning, police said.

Police said they watched a video of the July 11 incident, provided by the Lawrence County Housing Authority.

Graham, who is on probation for a sex-related offense, is charged with killing or maiming a domestic animal, simple assault and harassment in connection with the incident this month.

District Judge Melissa Amodie has issued a warrant for his arrest.

Graham pleaded guilty last year to terroristic threats and indecent assault that had been filed against him in November 2010.

Police reported then that he had been charged with rape and related offenses. The rape and other charges were dropped as part of the plea bargain.

Graham was sentenced May 24, 2011, to a maximum of 23 1/2 months in prison with credit for 171 days served, plus two years of probation. He also was ordered to undergo sex offender treatment.

On May 13, Graham was the victim of a shooting, suffering a bullet wound to his inner left thigh.

Anthony L. McGeachy, 37, of 216 Wick Ave., was accused as the gunman and arrested. Graham was shot while walking to McGeachy’s house with his son.

News Link:http://www.ncnewsonline.com/update/x453799092/Man-charged-in-puppy-s-death-woman-s-assault


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